The Secret Confessions of a Massage Therapist

When we think about a getting massage, our thoughts most likely focus on what type we’d like and how relaxed we’ll be at the end of it. It’s quite possible that we forget to think about the main protagonist in this equation; the massage therapists. For most of us, paying for a service easily distracts us from the people who actually provide it.

Although it’s their job to take you on the journey of relaxation, have you ever wondered how the experience is for them? For instance, what runs through their minds while your eyes are closed and your joints are giving way to pleasure? Well, here are just some confessions from massage therapists to give you a basic idea.

Don’t call a massage therapist a ‘masseuse’

Technically, massage therapists and masseuses perform the same function – which is give massages. To start with, massage therapists have to attend college and get qualified, as well as attain the relevant licences and other requirements before they can start work. However, originally a French word, it has for some time now been used as a euphemism for ‘happy time’ or ‘sex work’.

Contrary to what many people think, it’s not an easy job

Unlike popular assumption, the job of a massage therapist isn’t easy. Many people seem to think the job is rather simple though, which isn’t at all true. For one, every person’s body is different from the next; therefore, adapting to working with each body type can be very challenging, physically.

Massage therapists do not have the easiest of jobs. Those that work in places with high client traffic (such as spas) spend most of their working hours on their feet, whilst expending so much energy in meeting the needs of their clients. Often, they end up needing therapy themselves and visits to sports injury clinics are not at that unusual. Aching wrists, backs and feet are regular issues – even dislocated shoulders in some cases. Arthritis is also not uncommon amongst massage therapists.

Don’t worry about your hairy body

Most massage therapists agree that they get to see all different types of bodies; therefore, apologising over and over again about your unshaved pits and legs is totally unnecessary. They’ve seen it all; cellulite, stretch marks, hair, tattoos, scars, moles and bumps. However, this doesn’t mean that clients shouldn’t consider being unkempt or unhygienic.

Your weight doesn’t matter to them

It might matter to you, but to massage therapists, a body is merely a collection of muscles they need to help relax. You don’t need to worry about being judged for being fat or slim; their ultimate goal is to have you feeling better after your massage. Fat or slim, you can lie down, close your eyes and be sure to enjoy every moment you’d otherwise have spent fidgeting and getting worked up over something fairly inconsequential.

Acne shouldn’t stop you

People often cancel their massage appointments because they have what’s known as ‘bacne’ or something similar. Unless this is wide spread (which could make the experience a painful one), it really does not matter to most massage therapists. In fact, if it’s a regular breakout, they could make an oil for you that would soothe the pain and allow you to enjoy your massage session.

Consider the emotional strain

Many massage therapists have to listen to some of their clients talk throughout their massage session. While this can be great for conversation in some scenarios, clients who talk about their woes and struggles are not always so easy to bear – especially when the massage therapists can do nothing to help their plight in reality.

They sometimes have to deal with bad personal hygiene

While a good number of clients take great care about how they look and smell (thus avoiding the therapist feeling uncomfortable), there are still some seemingly aloof people who show up for appointments covered in sweat or some other evidence of poor hygiene. Therapists can forgive hairy legs and acne, but it’s hard to deal with unpleasant particularly unpleasant odours – especially the avoidable ones.

Some clients refuse to pay after receiving service

There’s still a percentage of clients who try to scheme their way out of paying – especially those whose expectations are unrealistic.

Good hygiene is a must

Massage therapists have to keep extremely short nails to avoid scratching clients. They are also required to be extremely neat and wear mild deodorants and perfumes to avoid making clients uncomfortable with more pronounced fragrances. While good hygiene is essential, short nails and only a small range of fragrances can be quite a bore for massage therapists.

Hands are fragile and delicate tools

Massage therapists work with their hands day in, day out. Subsequently, any injuries to the hands can affect a week’s worth of work or even a complete inability to work, depending on the injury. They often have to use stinging lotions to quicken the healing process.

It’s not exactly a well-paid or stable job

The fact that many people consider massages as a ‘treat’ means that the inflow of clients can be somewhat low. Also, with the decline of wages since the 2008 financial crisis – and less expendable income in people’s pockets – it doesn’t make for a job that pays so well.

Feedback is key

Massage therapists are not psychic; if you’re uncomfortable with anything at all during a session, it’s important you tell the person working with you. It really is a let down for them when clients say they did not enjoy the therapy at the end of the session.

Freebie seeking friends

Most massage therapists attest to having friends who – in one way or another – ask for freebies. Most of them don’t say it outright of course, but subtle comments about aching necks or strained joints are easy to see through. Therefore, paying your friend (who is a massage therapist) for a massage every now and then is not a bad idea.

Laundry is a time-consuming chore

For most massage therapists, this is a very annoying part of the job; the constant need to do laundry. While it’s true that spending years training for the job should mean less time spent doing the (work related) laundry, for most massage therapists, the exact opposite is the case.

Sometimes, there’s more than meets the eye

People are not always honest to themselves about their health. Many health issues may require massage therapy, but massage therapists sometimes find that their clients have serious medical issues that have not been addressed. A lot of people claim to have seen their doctors and only been recommended a relaxing massage. In such cases, therapists usually recommend clients make a return visit to their doctor.

Some people just won’t sit still

Trying to ‘assist’ by constantly moving around is more likely to distract than help a massage therapist. While their job is to work the muscles in your body, you have the small task of staying still and enjoying the process as you should.

Massage therapists still love their jobs

Despite the dramas, disappointments and let downs, most massage therapists agree that they still love their jobs. According to  The Massage People London, “The fulfilment that accompanies a successful session and clients who leave feeling relaxed and satisfied is an unmatched sensation of satisfaction.”


With this brief glimpse into the mind of a massage therapist, you should certainly appreciate your next massage therapy session even more.